I met this couple when they were 33 weeks pregnant. They were looking for an alternative and I was recommended to them. At our first meeting I immediately felt a connection with them. I explained my work and we chatted for an hour about the state of health care in Spain. Later that week they took me on as their midwife having decided to try for a home birth.
I visited K, the mum weekly and even did a weekend crash antenatal birth course for them and another couple. K shared her humour, wisdom and life experience with me over these past weeks. She shared her husbands story as well. I could feel deep love and connectedness in this couple and I desperately wanted them to have the birth of their dreams.
Sometimes as a midwife you meet a woman who you know in another circumstance that she would be your friend. Its a lovely feeling but it makes it hard to stay objective. Of course in reality I am rarely objective and I do tend to fall in love with 95% of my clients. But how can I not. They are so loving and deeply searching for a birth with dignity and respect, because they them selves are dignified and respectful people. Anyway, this couple stole my heart once again.
K an I would have such animated conversations, during my visits, that time would pass and before I knew it, the visit was over and I done no antenatal care at all.
They were a slightly older couple who had both seen a bit of life’s hardships, but they were joyful and open and generous of spirit. I imagined their birth to be one that would have great romance and tenderness and I was not wrong.
J rang me at 6:45 in the morning saying K had been contracting uncoordinatedly since around 3am. K’s contractions were now every 6 min. They were short but she could not sleep through them. I told him to tell her to get into the bath. I let him know that the bath would either ease the contractions or they would pick up in intensity. They were to ring me in an hour.
Following their call I got up and sorted my children out for school. I whatsapped a message to say I was going for a shower and asked how they were doing. He said the contractions were more intense but K was trying to sleep.
Once out of the shower I sent another message. J said that K felt like pushing and would like me to go round. Although this was their first baby. K had told me that her mum delivered all her children in under 5 hours and that she, herself, had dreamt that she delivered alone. With both these thoughts in my mind I decided it would be better to pop round and check on things although it could still be early days. So I got my things together rang my trusty and amazing doula and was off. Within 15 min I was in their flat and found K on the bed with her bum in the air. She was pushing strongly with each contraction and I could see her purple line very clearly. It was complete and from the looks of her I felt she was fully and pushing baby into a good position for delivery. My doula was on her way but I was not sure she would make it.
With each contraction J and K were together. Hand in hand J breathed with J and encouraged her through till the end. I tried to sort out the pool but the strength of her contractions continued to call me back into the room. Issues with connecting the hose to the taps and a gut feeling made me abandon the pool and opt for a position change. Baby was happy and well through out and with a quick VE I confirmed that baby was at the door, which was more that I could say for my doula. I worried she would miss the birth and I needed her support. Fortunately she arrived within good time.
J and K were vocalizing beautifully together and at one point I felt we were on a Tibetan mountain because of the harmonious deep chakra sounds they were creating. I was loving every moment of this birth and feeling such deep gratitude for it. I was also praying it would continue in this way, normal and beautiful.
I often write about how much I enjoy these births and how I “quietly sit back” and observe or watch in awe. This is true I do this all of the time, but I am also working and while one part of my brain is marvelling at the power of birth the other is considering all options of probability. My right brain is constantly questioning and working on what could go wrong. It asks: are there any deviations from normal in this moment, what could cause a deviation, are all my tools and supplies in order, what was our plan B for quick transfer if needed? Its a bit nerve wrecking at times. Trying to be in the moment 100% with your patient and keep your energy open and positive, while at the same time contemplating all the things that could go wrong. No wonder they call us madwives.
After a change of position which involved K doing a very sexy pelvic moving dance, with the most beautiful smile on her face and J and I holding her while standing and pushing, we moved into the toilet. I could see how well K was pushing and I knew that gravity would speed things up a wee bit, but I knew her legs could not hold her for long. She was using every amazing muscle in her body to get this baby out and she needed a better support. Normally I have my birthing stool, but I had left it behind that morning, so the toilet was the only choice.
I put a bowel in the toilet pan to catch anything coming out and within 15 min baby was born. It was so lovely. J never left K’s side. They took each contraction together and he was a steady support. Each time I spoke to K during the labour J would translate my every word in to Arabic, so that K did not have to translate in her head and break her concentration. My doula said it was the most beautiful birth she had seen and I feel it was one of the top 10. I told J he could be a doula, he was so in rhythm and calm with the whole process.
After baby was born and all little things, were sorted, like weighing baby and suturing, J bought us all pizza and opened a lovely bottle of wine which we all shared.